There is another cat in our household.
This one is perhaps the most special of all.
He doesn't soil where he's not supposed to.
He doesn't want treats or need to be fed.
He is Sylvester, and he was lovingly hand crafted by my grandfather Herbert Lee Hurt.
(my dad & one of their dalmations)
Rottweilers, Weimeraners, Dobermans (I LOVED their Dobies-such awesome dogs!). And yet there was Sylvester; a 3 foot tall, perfectly lathed wonderment of all that is feline. My grandfather and I had a very special bond. At one time it was even written about in a newspaper article! Not because there was some rare blood or organ donation (other than the original one we shared through genetics) but simply because I answered the reporters question 'What are you going to do this Summer?" And I told him. I was 11.
"I'm going to visit my grandpa, and we are going to yell at each other and laugh a lot!"
On some fundamental level we had complete understanding of one another very early on. Grandpa was very gruff and didn't have patience with incompetence or ignorance. He could deliver a withering look or remark at one of my brothers & send them running to Grandma. But me? I would stand there, in my red headed stiff necked stubbornness & give it right back to him! His trademark phrase was 'You can't do it like that!' and I would stand there and say, 'Oh Yes I Can!'. And then his 'mean mouth' would crack ever so slightly; and the spell would be broken and then he & I would yell at each other all the time and laugh and laugh and laugh. My grandpa laughed like Smedly the old cartoon character and everyone loved it and him.
Such a handsome man my grandpa
Somewhere after my 16th birthday I was told by my grandpa that Sylvester would ultimately be mine. I can't tell you exactly what that meant to me then, and what it means to me today. I was beside myself. But the trade off was that Sylvester would only come live with me when my grandfather had gone and when my grandma no longer felt like dusting him.
(she celebrates her 92 birthday the end of this month and still plays bingo at the casinos 3 times a week!) and when I went to visit her for the holidays (now with my own teenage daughter) she said it was time for Sylvester to come home too: and I cried.
I am now the same age my dad was when he moved to Arizona to be closer to his father because as he said at the time 'We only see the parents at Christmas time, how many more times do you think that is before they are gone?' Point taken. I went with him, my step-mom Milli, step brother Eric, Freddie & Misty. I stayed with them in Arizona for a year. Long enough to find out that the desert is not even remotely my cuppa. But this story isn't about that...
It's about Sylvester, and a promise made and kept through all that. And now he's on my mantle, proudly keeping watch with his lovely green marble button eyes over my little family. Me, El, & our brood.
Here's some lovely green eyed magic for each of you. Thanks for reading.